Eating poop is one of the most disturbing habits many dogs have. Scientifically known as coprophagia, this common dog behavior problem worries many dog owners. After all, who wants their beloved dog’s breath to smell like poop?
Furthermore, coprophagia also poses threats to your dog’s health—dogs that eat other animal’s poop are much more likely to suffer from intestine parasites and infectious diseases. As with any kind of dog behavior problem, the sooner you act, the easier it will be to stop your dog from eating poop.
9 Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop
Some dogs simply like the taste of poop. As strange as it may seem, dogs often have different taste and smell preferences than humans.
- Your dog might be very hungry and have no access to normal food. Consider changing the feeding schedule and serving smaller meals more often.
- Overeating could also cause this. If the dog eats way too much, the food is only partially digested and the excrements smell and taste almost like his regular food.
- Your dog may lack some essential nutrients that are not provided by your dog’s food.
- Intestine parasites can consume large quantities of your dog’s needed nutrients, hence forcing the dog to uptake them from excrements.
- Some dogs may eat feces because of boredom, stress or loneliness.
- If your dog is in a restricted space, for example, in a crate, on a chain, in a kennel or indoors, he may eat his poop just to clean up his living space.
- If you punish your dog for eliminating in inappropriate places, the dog may eat the poop to hide evidence.
- Some dogs deliberately eat poop just to gain attention, knowing that their owners dislike it.
4 Ways To Prevent Your Dog from Eating Poop
One way to stop this disturbing behavior is simply to ensure that the dog has no access to poop. If possible, pick up his stool immediately after elimination and always try to keep dog’s crate or kennel clean. If you also own a cat, ensure that your dog cannot access cat’s litter box. Hide it in a place that is only available to the cat. When going for a walk, use a leash and do not allow the dog to approach other animals’ poop.
- Another way to stop your dog from eating poop is by giving him basic obedience training commands. In situations that are likely to result in eating poop, give your dog a command such as OFF, SIT or COME. Be consistent and do not forget to reward your dog when he obeys.
- Poop eating could be a consequence of your dog being distressed, lonely or bored. Since the dog has nothing else to do, it may start to display strange behavior or try to attract the owner’s attention in undesirable ways. Spending more time with the dog, regularly taking him for a walk and not leaving him alone for too long can help in such cases.
- In many cases, poop eating is an indicator that your dog has an unbalanced diet. This could be caused by poor quality dog food or the presence of intestine parasites. Overeating and excessive consumption of high-fat food is also known to be a cause of coprophagia. Try varying your dog’s diet and consider consulting a vet to find out whether your dog needs any dietary supplements or worming treatments.
Most dogs do grow out of their poop eating habit after a while. However, it is best to try to stop this disturbing and unhygienic behavior as early as possible.